“Grit Lit” ~ Ah-ha!

On an Arte Umbria writing course in Italy I heard the term “Grit Lit” for the first time and had an ah-ha moment.

Deciding what genre a book belongs in can be quite hard and reminds me of the 60’s song Little Boxes by Malvina Reynolds. There was a lot of squeezing involved to get them to “all look just the same”. Once Removed never seemed an easy fit with any of the usual categories but grit lit sounds glove-like. It makes me think of ‘gritty northern’ dramas, stories of real people surviving tough situations in no-nonsense OR cover 3ways and coming out the other side stronger.

Once Removed’s new cover is a much better fit, too. Of course self-harm is a dark subject but this book is so much more than that. There’s colour and caring, risk and romance, daring and disaster.

Paranormal anyone?

I asked Shani Struthers, fellow Crooked Cat author, what drew her to her favourite genre and this is what she said ~

Shani PicFor as long as I can remember the paranormal has fascinated me. Even as a child I preferred darker stories and devoured Ruth Manning-Saunders’ twisted fairytales. I also had a strong stomach for horror films and loved nothing more than cosying up with my family to watch a scary movie on the TV – it was seen as something fun in our house! Although I kick-started my writing career in the romance genre, I quickly switched to paranormal as it’s where my heart truly lies. I’ve also had a lot of knowledge passed down to me from my mother who has a life-long intellectual interest in the Occult, so in a way I’ve grown up with the paranormal all around me. It simply makes sense to me that there’s a spiritual world as well as a material one. Regarding fellow paranormal authors, I’m inspired by Shirley Jackson, Susan Hill, Stephen King and Dean Koontz – all writers I aspire to rank alongside one day!

Shani’s latest book, Psychic Surveys Book Three: 44 Gilmore Street, comes out on Friday, 27th May.YES2-2

“We all have to face our demons at some point.”

Psychic Surveys – specialists in domestic spiritual clearance – have never been busier. Although exhausted, Ruby is pleased. Her track record as well as her down-to-earth, no-nonsense approach inspires faith in the haunted, who willingly call on her high street consultancy when the supernatural takes hold.

But that’s all about to change.

Two cases prove trying: 44 Gilmore Street, home to a particularly violent spirit, and the reincarnation case of Elisha Grey. When Gilmore Street attracts press attention, matters quickly deteriorate. Dubbed the ‘New Enfield’, the ‘Ghost of Gilmore Street’ inflames public imagination, but as Ruby and the team fail repeatedly to evict the entity, faith in them wavers.

Dealing with negative press, the strangeness surrounding Elisha, and a spirit that’s becoming increasingly territorial, Ruby’s at breaking point. So much is pushing her towards the abyss, not least her own past. It seems some demons just won’t let go…

Gilmore multi

Bio

I write ghost stories – vampires, werewolves and shape shifters need not apply! Influences include the great Shirley Jackson, Anne Rice, Stephen King and Dean Koontz. I’m also a mum of three children, and live in the funky city of Brighton with them, my husband and four mad cats. I’ve always loved reading and writing but occasionally I venture outdoors on sunny days and walk in the stunning green downs that surround us. Other pastimes include hanging out with friends and just having fun – life’s too short not to.

Buy Links

Psychic Surveys Book Three: 44 Gilmore Street

UK http://tinyurl.com/jobnwoo

US http://tinyurl.com/j6jvev5

Social Media Links

Facebook Author Page: http://tinyurl.com/p9yggq9

Twitter: https://twitter.com/shani_struthers

Blog: http://shanisite.wordpress.com

Goodreads: http://tinyurl.com/mq25mav

Website: http://www.shanistruthers.com

 

 

 

Contemporary Freedom

ccnancyjardineToday my friend and fellow Crooked Cat author Nancy Jardine talks about genre in relation to her writing. I’m not entirely sure I agree with everything she’s said so look forward to your comments.

Hello Kim, thank you for inviting me to return to your blog. It’s lovely to pop back to see you.

Some authors quickly find their writing niche and stick with it. It may be that they feel more comfortable with writing political thrillers and that’s the only genre they keep writing in. Or, they only write gritty police procedural novels. Or, maybe they only write historical romances. Many of them are highly successful and their readers are content because they know what to expect from those authors—readers who only want the predictable.

It’s a sad fact of life that other authors who want to challenge readers, or who want to encourage them to appreciate something different in genre or across genres, find their work doesn’t sell well.

The truly mercenary author, I think, finds what genre or ‘fad’ is selling and rides along the crest of that wave—whether or not they enjoy what they’re creating.

I’m still a bit ambivalent regarding my genre comfort zone and I can’t bring myself to be one of those ‘one eye on the profits only’ mercenary type of author.

I love writing my historically based adventures but I’ve also found that writing my contemporary mysteries has given me a sense of freedom. The freedom is directly related to the fact that I don’t need to do so much research since I’m more familiar with the contemporary life my characters might have, or if their lifestyle is quite fanciful, I can find examples of sufficient similar celebrity lifestyles on the internet to make the scenario believable.

When I started to write Take Me Now, my latest Crooked Cat published contemporary mystery novel, I decided to make my TMNx1000main male character Nairn Malcolm an unusual Scottish highland hero. My Nairn was going to be just as charismatic and sword wielding as many of the current highland heroes that can be found in romance novels set in Scotland, but instead of making him a Jacobite, or a medieval hero, I chose to create a contemporary Nairn. I also purposely chose not to create a time shift character, there being plenty of that type of novel available on the market.

Since the story is a romance mystery, I made Nairn a bit more larger than life, yet not the typical hero image at the outset. Though he’s normally the quintessential alpha male, my main female character Aela Cameron finds he’s not at his best when she first meets him. The swooning over my gorgeous highland hero is temporarily delayed since poor Nairn has been the subject of a rather nasty and mysterious motorbike accident. And so begins the fun of the book but also the mystery begins because although I wanted to write an almost ‘tongue in cheek’ version of a highland hero, I also wanted and needed to create a sound mystery plot.

The contemporary freedom for me was also creating amusing dialogue between those main protagonists. Some of the best fun during the writing was during scenes when my strong secondary character Ruaridh Malcolm, Nairn’s father, stirred up some mischief.

If I were asked if Take Me Now is similar to my other writing, I’d have to say no it isn’t because as an author I really tried something different.

Take Me Now is available in ebook formats from Amazon UK http://amzn.to/1QbhUwn ; US http://amzn.to/1MdeuCU ; Smashwords; B&N; and other ebook stores.

Nancy Jardine writes: historical romantic adventures (Celtic Fervour Series); contemporary mystery thrillers (Take Me Now, Monogamy Twist, Topaz Eyes-finalist for THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE 2014); & time-travel historical adventures for Teen/ YA readers (Rubidium Time -Travel Series –Book 1 The Taexali Game).

Find Nancy at the following places-

Blog: http://nancyjardine.blogspot.com Website: http://nancyjardineauthor.com Facebook LinkedIN   About Me   Goodreads Twitter @nansjar  Google+ (Nancy Jardine)   YouTube book trailer videos   Amazon UK author page   Rubidium Time Travel Series on Facebook http://on.fb.me/XeQdkG

“My Lovely Blog” Hop

hibernationThanks to my friend and fellow author, Christina (https://funnylass.wordpress.com/…/…/12/everything-is-lovely/), and this blog hop thingy, I’m finally getting round to my first Nuts and Crisps post of 2015! All being well I should have a post from another fellow author, Jeff Gardiner, on Wednesday. Looks like I’ve surfaced from deep hibernation at last.

So, the first memory that comes to mind was searching for my beloved grandfather. I was four and had just been told he’d died. I looked under furniture, in cupboards, everywhere for him. That sense of confusion and loss left a hefty imprint. Nowadays parents have some very good books to help young children with bereavement.

Books are one of my passions. In second grade (age 7), I was one of the Scott of the Antarcticoldest children in the class, often bored and given to disruptive behaviour. In desperation, my teacher began to give me books with the instruction to go read them and write book reports ~ genius. The first one was about Scott of the Antarctic and I never looked back.

The library was too far away for me to get to as a child, likewise I can’t remember any bookshops, but I was given a children’s classic book collection for Christmas one year and never remember being short of something to read. Both my parents worked and we were encouraged to be as independent as possible. I spent most of my youth outside on my bike, climbing trees, playing team games and that kind of thing but there was plenty of time to read on long car journeys.

Holmfirth libraryWhen I was a young wife in a remote village, the mobile library was a lifeline. I took my children from infancy to their local library every week and now take my granddaughter. Quality books can be expensive but libraries enable access to an endless supply and the freedom for children to choose the stories they want to hear. Now, apart from the books, films, music and computers on offer, my library also provide a venue for my writers’ group. I guess you can tell I’m a big fan and pretty outraged that these essential places are under threat.

How dull life would be if there weren’t always new things to learn. My grandma clip artcurrent course of study is grandparenting ~ learning to slow down and observe life alongside a toddler, keeping in my daughter-in-law’s good books and how to help grown-up children without interfering.

Writing… hmmm. I’ve written two books, published one myself called A Life Less Lost and had the other, Once Removed, published by the marvellous Crooked Cat team. I’ve won a few local competitions with short stories and I write for my church magazine and my other blog, Biblically Blogging. Currently trying to build enough confidence to work on several ideas for children’s books.

cover LLL

A few Crooked Cats have agreed to follow on from me; Scott Perkins, www.pagestotype.com, who has an exciting new book, Howard Carter Saves the World, coming out this week, Yvonne Marjot, The Knitted Curiosity Cabinet, author of the brilliant Calgary Chessman and the delightful Ailsa Abraham, The Bingergread Cottage, author of Alchemy and Shaman’s Drum. I hope you’ll visit them later in the week, when they offer a tiny peek into their “Lovely Blogs”.

On Emigration from Britain

IMG_0569-20%Author Miriam Drori offers this post for us today ~

This is where I get to argue, with tongue only partly in cheek, that we Brits have a harder time than others when having to acclimatise to a new country. Me – Brit? Well yes, once a Brit always a Brit. That’s what I say. And that’s what non-Brits say to me. I’m seen as more of a Brit when away from my country of birth then I ever was in it.

Not that they call me “Britit” you understand. “Anglia – English” is what they say. I’ve given up trying to explain that there’s more to Britain than England. The whole concept of several countries in one is apparently too hard for them to internalise. I wonder if the Scots are about to make that easier for them.

This place isn’t mentioned in the novel, but it’s a place Mark will have visited. The Ministry of Absorption helps new immigrants to become absorbed into Israeli society, although we never stop being labelled as British, American, Russian, Ethiopian, French….

This place isn’t mentioned in the novel, but it’s a place Mark will have visited. The Ministry of Absorption helps new immigrants to become absorbed into Israeli society, although we never stop being labelled as British, American, Russian, Ethiopian, French….

Some of the problems get harder with time, not easier. Foods you miss. Like Marmite, gooseberries and salt ’n’ vinegar crisps. OK, we can buy Marmite, but it’s so expensive it’s not worth it. There are lots of delicious fruits here, but not gooseberries. As for salt ’n’ vinegar crisps, any self-respecting native-born Israeli would turn up their nose at that. Except for my children. Brought them up proper, we ’ave.

Then there’s the weather. Instead of complaining about constant rain, here we complain about the heat. Still, complaint is complaint, so it’s not so hard to get used to this change.

Learning a new language is particularly hard for us Brits. We’ve never understood why not everyone talks our own rich but thoroughly illogical tongue. After all, it’s the only natural one. Every other language has to be learned.

The hardest thing for me has been getting them to realise that Brits come in all shapes, sizes and types. Because I fit their view of the British, I’ve found it hard to persuade them that some of us are loud or rude or noticeably outgoing. “You’re so British,” they tell me.

NeitherHereNorThereCoverFunnily enough, or perhaps not, Mark, hero of my romance Neither Here Nor There, shares this last problem. His French roommate in particular teases him for his Britishness:

“Oh you British.” Claude had wrung his hands in mock despair. “You are so… so… réservé.”

Mark doesn’t think that’s a true representation at all, but he has no way of shaking it off, being a bit reserved himself.

As the story progresses, Mark will need to become strong. He has to contend with much more than his own immigration. He is falling in love with Esty, who is going through a much bigger life change.

Bio

Miriam Drori was born and brought up in London, and now lives in Jerusalem where her daughter has left her to hold the female fort against three males.

Following careers as a computer programmer and a technical writer, Miriam has been writing creatively for the past ten years and has had short stories published online and in anthologies. Neither Here Nor There, published on 17 June 2014, is her first published novel.

Miriam began writing in order to raise awareness of social anxiety. Since then the scope of her writing has widened, but she hasn’t lost sight of her original goal.

Links

Miriam’s website: http://miriamdrori.com/

Neither Here Nor There is available from:

Crooked Cat Books

Amazon

Smashwords

What are you working on?

What am I working on? Hmmm…

Well, I’ve started two or three novels that have dribbled to a stop.

There’s a frizzle of excitement building around a series of children’s books but they need illustrations so I’m stuck wondering how to go forward…

There are the articles I write for my church magazine, bits and bobs for Two Valleys Radio, poetry for the upcoming cycling extravaganza coming to Yorkshire/Holmfirth Arts Festival and Yurt experience.

My veg plotMy guilty secret? Mostly, I’m working in my garden. Oh, and having a rather remarkable year ~ the christening of my first grandchild in Finland, watching my niece in the Olympics, lunch at Highgrove ~ and it’s only March. Possible inspiration for future epistles?

How does my writing differ from others in it’s genre?

Herein lies one of many obstacles to my success as an author. I’ve never been able to squeeze myself into tiny boxes. Genre, what genre would that be?

cover LLL

This banner was created using quotes from some of Once Removed's brilliant reviews.

So far I’ve written a memoir and a novel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Why do you write what you do?

The simple answer ~ I can’t help it. My fizzy brain requires me to get things down on paper/screen before I blow up. It can be a journal, story, novel, memoir, letter, lesson plan, poem, article, blog post…

How does the writing process work for you?th-1

Good question. Sometimes it’s a writers’ group that kicks me out of my comfort zone, or a deadline, or a challenge, or inspiration might fire me into action. When I was writing my two books, I sat at my computer every workday morning and wrote for several hours.

What’s this all about?

514HF84FgWL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX278_SY278_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA300_SH20_OU02_My friend, Christina Longden, has just published her first novel, Mind Games and Ministers. She fancied joining the Monday Blog Tour and needed friends to take part. Writers of any description answer the questions above on a Monday and pass the baton on to two others. I received the ‘push’ from Laura Ripper, a proofreader and copy editor, to see her post visit http://lauraripperproofreading.com/2014/03/24/the-monday-blog-tour/. I like the idea because it’s more about information sharing than blatant self-promotion. 

Fellow Crooked Cat authors, Ailsa Abraham http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Failsaabraham.com%2F&h=aAQGFEvhG and Carol Hunter www.carolannehunter.co.uk, have agreed to follow me. I’ll post Carol’s links later today.

Crooked Cat Book Sale!

Pop over to Amazon to see all the Crooked Cat Books on sale for this week only. They have a brilliant selection across a wide range of genres ~ something for everyone, including Once Removed. Just follow this link:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Once-Removed-ebook/dp/B007YUZXC4/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1379158439&sr=8-1&keywords=Once+Removed ORcoverpb

Previous Older Entries

The Bingergread Cottage

An excellent writer -Amazon.com

Rebecca Bradley

Murder Down To A Tea

Sangi's Haart n Soul

a reflection of my thoughts....

Muse with Coffee - A Book Blog

Musing and writing over a cup of coffee, books, snippets of life - anything which gives an insight, letting the expressions flow..

Heather E. Wright

Resources for Writers of All Ages and Teachers, Too.

Nuts and Crisps

For all things reading and writing